Dateline – Roswell, Ga: The Lady Cougars established a rendezvous with destiny as for only the second time in their history, TCS stepped up to play for the AAC crown on the championship stage. In their last appearance, the 2019 edition of the Lady Cougars faced off against the Panthers of Atlanta Area School, only to succumb to a furious fast break attack in a raucous second half. Only three holdovers from that runner up squad remained on this year’s roster: senior Alex Nebel and middle schoolers Hannah Katz and Finley Love. From the start of this turbulent season, the players and coaches established annexing the AAC crown, and securing a place in the GISA playoffs as important team goals. On Thursday night, your home town heroines checked the first goal off with an exclamation point.
From the opening tip, the Lady Cougars pushed the accelerator to the floor, determined to force the issue on offense, and equally committed to wreaking havoc on defense. Senior Alex Nebel came out hotter than a cannon, ringing up 13 early points, that included three “three balls.” In fact, the first possession of the game featured the Cougars swinging the ball to a wide open Nebel whose eighteen foot harpoon singed the net. The next TCS offensive sequence witnessed Nebel swoop in from the backcourt to poach an offensive rebound, with an immediate bank shot put back. Fellow guards ALysssa Briggs chipped in with two first quarter hoops and Galya Kysar entered the scoring column with an offensive rebound and tip in. When the dust settled after the first eight minutes, Cottage posted 19 points to the Lady Mustang’s 5.
The second quarter saw both squads revert to four on four action, as one of the Lady Mustangs went down with an game ending injury. Executing their offensive scheme with four players did nothing to faze TCS, as the big three pumped in 15 second quarter points, including yet another harpoon form international waters by Nebel. On the other end of the court, ball hawking defense certainly threw sand into the gears of the MSA machine, as they only managed a pair of free throws.
The third quarter saw the Cougars shooting touch cool considerably, but tenacious offensive rebounding still allowed them second looks at the hoop, while timely steals prevented MSA from ever consolidating a strong run. Four Cougars combined for 12 third period points, while MSA retaliated with 9 of their own, marking their most prolific quarter of the match. The last quarter featured the most even portion of the game as MSA lit up 8 to Glaya Kysar’s 6. Per Nebel’s request, she wanted to end her last home game on the floor with her high school teammates. With just over one minute in the game, Emmi Dillehay and Alyssa Briggs re-entered the game with Nebel and Kysar to run the hardwoods for one last time. The buzzer sounded and pandemonium ensued in celebration of the Lady Cougars making “herstory” in almost storybook fashion.
The coaching staff, would like to extend our deepest appreciation to the players and parents who participated this year. Even in the best of times managing basketball schedules presents large challenges and sacrifices, not even to mention the unknowns that the families needed to accept in this most unusual season. Furthermore we thank the school administration went the extra mile to ensure that our players would have this opportunity to compete in the sport that they love so much.
Keep in mind that although tonight’s game closes the book on AAC action and home games for the ladies, the last chapter remains unwritten. The Lady Cougars will play a final tune up game at Atlanta Jewish Academy next Thursday in preparation for first round action in the GISA AA State Tournament the following week. In our first year playing in GISA, the girls currently stand #10 in the rankings and have therefore landed a place in the postseason. The identify of our opening opponent, the venue, and time have yet to be determined.
A quadrangle of guards provided reserve strength in all four quarters of play. Finley Love jumped off the bench first. She hit the glass for 2 offensive boards, grabbed a steal, and also passed for an assist. Hannah Katz also seized an offensive rebound and deflected a pass. Fellow middle schooler Reagan McMillin hoisted her first shots of the season, and also recorded her first career assist as she tossed the ball to Kysar in the post in fourth quarter action. Lillian Travis checked in with her best individual defensive performance of the year, and consistently found herself open on the perimeter. Although she did not connect, Travis fought her way to a career high 4 rebounds and passed for an assist.
The dynamic duo of Ana Mills and Celeste Jeoffroy also provided punch off the bench, primarily as post players. Jeoffroy banged through the paint to claim 2 offensive rebounds, and also dished for an assist. Fellow sophomore Mills absorbed 9 rebounds (2 offensive) in relatively limited playing time. She did not connect on her shots, but did knock away 2 steals, and also passed for an assist.
The starting frontcourt of Emmi Dillehay and Anika Helm made their presence felt. Dillehay boxed her foes out to gather 6 offensive rebounds, while also poking away 6 steals. Helm matched with 6 rebounds (1 offensive), and scored a third quarter hoop after her offensive ‘bound.
Alyssa Briggs and Galya Kysar resumed their hot shooting ways. Briggs nailed down 10 points, blocked a shot, poked away a steal, and leapt for 5 rebounds (3 offensive). Kysar started slowly, but took over more of the scoring load as the game progressed, netting 14 for the night. Kysar scooped up 2 defensive, and 7 offensive rebounds, and stole 6 balls.
Senior Alex Nebel took the main stage on this night, winning MVP honors by acclamation. Her 24 points marked a career high, and her 5 three pointers set a new school standard. Dinarah Rothman held the previous girls record, netting three three pointers on two different occasions. Not content to simply let her offense do the talking, Nebel also led the game with 14 big rebounds (8 offensive), and also tallied 2 steals. What a way to out. . . in front of a home crowd. . .in a championship game. . .in a senior year. . .en route to an MVP performance. . . while setting personal highs and a school record? How did you spend that hour of time?